How to Pollinate Daylilies
The large, flaring flowers of daylilies on their tall, slender stems provide a dramatic note in any garden. Flowers come in a wide range of colors, from pale creams and yellows all the way to rich, deep reds and purples, and can even be multicolored, with striped, spotted or swirling patterns. The form of the flowers can vary as well, with frilled, curled or extra petals. Daylily enthusiasts have cross-pollinated many plants to achieve this level of variety. While the two primary types of daylily, diploid and tetraploid, are not compatible for crossing, plants within each group can be hybridized. It’s relatively easy to pollinate daylily flowers by hand, then harvest the seeds.
Things You’ll Need
- Consider what traits for which you would like to cross-pollinate, and identify and locate potential cultivars that possess those characteristics.
- Collect pollen from a flower of one of the selected cultivars by removing the anthers at the end of the stamens–the yellow-tipped projections within the flower–using tweezers.
- Place the anthers in a small container and label it. Collect in the morning, when the pollen is dried and fluffy. Allow the pollen to dry for 24 hours, then store the anthers in the freezer.
- Thaw the anthers when the other plant has bloomed. If both plants are blooming at the same time, use a fresh anther from one of the flowers.
- Apply the anther to the stigma, the longest of the projections in the flower. Brush the pollen onto the stigma. The tip of the stigma will be tacky and the pollen will stick to it.
- Observe your daylily plant. Over the next few days, the flowers will wither and seed pods will begin to grow. The pods will yellow as they ripen.
- Record information about any cross-pollinations you make and tag the pollinated flower.
- Harvest the seed pods when they turn tan or brown and begin to split open, usually in six to eight weeks. The pods will be brittle and have a papery outer shell with the multiple seeds inside.